Interesting Matt Levine look at this pension fees issue in New York. You get some of this gold, “Surely if you yourself confess that you are acting “insane,” you are not doing your duties as a trustee? If I were a New York City pensioner I’d be a little disturbed to see my trustees running around calling their investment process insane.” But also some solid contrarian analysis of the issues at play there. Teachers unions and teachers in the middle of this, playing the rhetoric, investing in the funds, etc…The question Levine basically puts on the table is whether the issue here is fees and poor performance or if the problem is that these pension funds are being run by political hacks. Or both? It’s more than a little opaque. That’s a problem, too.
Here’s an interesting research approach: Try to figure out how schools can do better with black and Latino boys in Boston but don’t look at schools that are doing the best job with them, around the country but also in Boston! Every time something like this happens a school voucher supporter gets their wings…
Shanker Blog takes a look at teacher turnover at Success Academy*. Basically Success says attrition was 17 percent a few years ago, per the NYT story the other day, Matt DiCarlo computes it as 33 percent based on data from a FOIA he vaguely says he happened find (
that c’mon almost certainly came from the UFT/AFT, a former official is his boss and it’s called the Shanker Institute, let’s not be cagey here Update: Turns out this is wrong, Shanker Institute says it’s FOIA’ing Success information itself, I don’t know why they just didn’t just say that). He notes that firing – termination or non-renewals in the case of schools like Success – versus voluntary departure may be one reason for the discrepancy. Makes sense. But here are another two: during the years in question Success had 12 schools, the next year they had 10 more. Some of this may be noise from that or people moving into admin and other non-teaching roles within the Success network. In any event, savvy people under scrutiny don’t knowingly put out numbers they know to be false , especially when they can be shown to be false, and especially not in The New York Times. Eva Moskowitz? She’s a savvy person. I suspect there is less here than meets the eye. Of course, none of this tell us what regrettable attrition is today – that’s what matters most to thinking about this model.
Virgina’s AG steering clear of the Sweet Briar litigation. A Virginia homeschool parent – whose son I coincidentally profiled for TIME a few years ago – writes about the confusion over how homeschool/public school interaction works today related to the recent veto of a bill that would have created a local school district option to let homeschooled kids try out for varsity sports.
Back and forth on charter schools and corporate reform, absurd time waster. Debate over charter schools and whether they should be required to backfill seats? Actually interesting! Democracy Builders out with a big report on this issue today. Update: Full report is live, read it here.
Political fallout and implication debating from the Chicago mayoral race.
Lots of people upset by former Boston now Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon’s comments about how he feels about Boston and playing in Philly. Short version: he misses Boston. Who knew Philly fans were so sensitive…Anyway, isn’t it refreshing? No BS and instead the guy is just being candid and at the same time he does his job quite well (100 plus saves for Phillies including one – but just one! – against the Red Sox this week in a three game series between the two teams) regardless of how he feels. Seems like it offers a few lessons applicable to this sector about professionalism and candor. (By the way, if you’re into the happenings of former Red Sox pitchers, check out these hogs). Makes me think it’s time to schedule a “Meeting with Jim Griffin.”
*I don’t carry any particular brief for Success Academy although I know parents who send their kids there and like it and have met plenty of satisfied parents. They’re in the news though and it’s interesting. I would endorse this view on what’s happening in Harlem. I’d also defend vigorously that we (a) ought to be open to different approaches in public education even ones we don’t necessarily like, Success and Montessori are two sides of the same diversity coin, one just is more popular among the yoga and kale set and less threatening to teachers unions and (b) every time we see some success in education (no pun intended) we shouldn’t suspend healthy skepticism but we also shouldn’t be in such a hurry to tear it down. Not a healthy culture for progress (which, last time I checked, is the root word of progressive).